Friday, December 23, 2011


Since coming home from Haiti, I have had 2 deaths in my family. 2 very special, wonderful, people. My Grandma Watt in Tallahassee passed away after years of fighting for her health. Her husband, my "Moyo", spent so much time taking care of her, nurturing her, encouraging her... My Grandma and Moyo had 7 kids. They spent their lives giving and loving and serving. They used their expertise in the medical field to go to the poorest and most needy places in this world and provide medical care. In her medical practice in Tallahassee, she was able to encourage many women out of a decision on abortion. My grandmother's father, Henry Hicks, came to America from Siam (now Thailand) in the early 1900's. I had the privilege of visiting Ellis Island earlier this year with my mom and I found his name on the wall at Ellis Island. It was incredible. In addition, I was able (as you know by now) to visit the hospital in Haiti where my Grandparents served the people there many years. Visiting these 2 places this year, reminded me of their great legacy. It's a honor to have had those experiences...

The boys and I went to Tallahassee for her funeral and were greeted by cousins, aunts, uncles, and family that we hadn't seen in years. It was really nice to all be together again. Upon walking into my grandparents house, there is a distinct scent of their home. It conjures up so many memories. Throwing the tennis ball against the wall in their front stairwell, making potholders on my Grandma's loom, eating oatmeal made extra special by my Grandaddy Watt/"Moyo", playing with the dollhouse in the upstairs bedroom... My most recent memories of my Grandma involved a lot of watching her observe. She would quietly watch all of the action around her with the sweetest smile of admiration. She loved watching my boys when we would visit. She would notice the littlest details about them or their behavior and compliment them, or me, on it. She loved music, too. She gave me a classical flute CD when I started playing flute in middle school. She was so excited. One of her favorite hymns was "It Is Well With My Soul"- a hymn that my mom sang at the funeral....perfectly.

I got back from Tallahassee Sunday night and got a call from my dad Monday. My Appa Bull had taken a sharp turn for the worse over the weekend. He didn't expect him to make it through the night.... and he didn't. My heart sank. This man was like another grandparent to me. His stories were fascinating (and really  l    o   n    g!) More fascinating than his stories, was the way he told them. He didn't leave a single detail out. And he used whatever was near him- a fork, napkin, salt shaker, sugar packet, as a prop to tell his story. "Ok, now, if this is the bridge (places fork down) and this is the boat (places sugar packet down)...." It was great. But I also hate to admit that many stories I'd give my dad a look that said, "Rescue me, please. This story will never end!!"  It was after high school, that I really realized how special my time with family was.  The first year after I had Dylan I lived with my mom and stepdad. It wasn't a bad arrangement but I wanted to make a little home for Dylan and me on our own somewhere. At a lunch date with my Appa Bull one day, he offered to help me get into my own place. He said he understood my desire and wanted to help make it happen. "How much do you need?" He got straight to the point, he simply wanted to know how he could help. And from the day I moved out, to the day I graduated college, my Appa Bull helped Dylan and me have our own place. What a gift.

What I look back on and remember the most were, the stories, the lunch outings at his favorite, Whistle Stop Cafe. I loved his home on Park Avenue, I loved the dancing Christmas figures under his tree, I loved how excited he was to share about his Coy Fish Pond that he built. I loved how I could just walk by him and all of the sudden, feel this hand grab mine as he was sliding $20 in my hand slyly. I'd always say, "Oh Appa Bull, you don't have to do that." To which he'd always say, "I know I don't. I want to."


Something that struck me when returning from Haiti, was that no one has pictures there. I know that sounds like, "Well duh, Lindsey, of course not." but think about how special our photographs are. They are backups to our, sometimes flawed, memory. They are prized possessions for me, personally. When my computer crashed this year, my heart sank. Not because of the years of college material on it or the lesson plans I had saved, but because of all my pictures. When my Grandma Watt and Appa Bull died, the first thing I did was look through all my pictures for something of them that I could hang on to. Something that would help keep them fresh in my memory. Memories are precious... and photographs are precious. The day before we left Haiti, we prayed with a woman who had just lost her son a couple weeks before. She was engulfed in despair and sadness. When I left her home, I thought about her not having a single photograph to hang onto. Not. One. That is heartbreaking... Maybe my next quest will be to get Polaroid cameras and film to these villages! there's a thought! ;-)

I love the people in my life...the ones who are still in it and the ones who have moved on to their eternal home. I love the memories I have of all of them...of all of you. I want to create memories and hold onto memories. Most importantly, I want to hold onto to the people behind the memories.

I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas weekend. May it be full of love, joy, peace, worship, warmth, tenderness, affection and


Just a few sweet memories...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Haiti- Part "En"

Well, it's time to tell you about Haiti. This trip has been on my heart for well over a year. I have hesitated in writing too soon about it because I don't know how to fully grasp the trip without making it sound like just...well, a trip. Then again, the more time that goes by, the more the good ole American life seeps back into my routine, my mind, my habits...and I lose some of the freshness of the journey. So, here we go. I will try my best to do justice to all the Lord showed me on this incredible adventure and opportunity.

The week leading up to my departure was insane. My list of to-do's well over-shadowed any expectations or anticipations about it. The first bit of reality that hit me was on the way to the airport. My sister was taking me. We left 2 hours before my flight and she lives about 20 minutes from the airport. Plenty of time...right?? :-/ Well, what do ya know....there was a horrendous car accident on the interstate that we just got on. All southbound lanes were closed. We were moving at a snails pace. "We'll get there", my sister said, optimistically. Followed by a traffic report over the radio that informed us otherwise. We would be on that interstate another hour. I got to the airport 45 mins before my flight, checked my bags and ran. fast. I don't know much about the Atlanta airport but about 8 minutes of solid running, I started to wonder where the heck is Gate D?!??!?!? I asked an employee and she said "Um, you need to get on the train." So I did. And ran some more to my gate. Out of breath I begged to get on my plane, to no avail. Doors were closed, passengers seated. I wasn't getting on. My heart sank. Upon telling the lady behind the counter that I had to get to Haiti, she looked shocked and said, "Oh you aren't getting to Haiti sweetheart. We don't fly there again until next week." That was it for me. I felt like I couldn't breathe. I called my sister crying. All of the efforts, the planning, the donations, rushed my mind. I went back to the counter to clarify the information. She told me to go over to another airline carrier and see if they had anything going out. I walked over to AirTran and they had one seat left to Ft. Lauderdale where I could then catch my connecting flight to Haiti the next morning. I bought it and collapsed on the seat. The lady working for AirTran came up to me and said, "You're going on a mission trip? And you know God wants you there, so don't worry about this. This is just the enemy trying to throw you off. You have a ticket. You're still going." What a blessing her simple and encouraging words were...

Boarding the flight from Atlanta was such a relief. I sat down and tried not to vent to the stranger next to me-- but I'm pretty sure I vented. :) I told him of the past years efforts and all that I was looking forward to. I was telling him how I was impacted by the missionaries to Ecuador in the 50's; how these men offered their lives, their freedoms, their families, to minister to a group of savage men in the jungle--eventually, all of them speared to death by the same men that they wanted to save. The man let me continue my rambling then, as I finished, he looked at me, smiled and said, "My father was a rescue pilot and he was part of the team that recovered those missionaries in Ecuador." Chills. Wow. What a cool, God moment!

I got into Ft. Lauderdale and found out that the luggage I had checked on my original flight, had never made it to Ft. Lauderdale. It was still back in Atlanta; And would stay there until the next flight to Haiti the following week. So this, my friends, meant.....the clothes on my back and the deodorant under my arms, would have to stay there for several days. Yep. The beginning of God stripping my vanity. This trip was not going to be about me. Or my hygiene apparently. :) (I can giggle now but trust me, there was no giggling then.)

The next morning I arrived in Port au Prince. Seeing Tom's smiling face welcome me outside of the main terminal was so awesome. Visit the Port au Prince airport one day and you'll appreciate the smile of a fellow American too. ;-)

We met up with Greg from HAFF and loaded up in our rugged Land Cruiser. Eventually we would meet our new friends for the week who came down from Iowa. We made our way through Port au Prince and the 4 hour journey through mountains and villages to our final destination, Bohoc, Haiti. The drive was bumpy and beautiful. It was going to be an amazing week...

*for part 2/3 of my Haiti trip, click here: Haiti- "Part De"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Haiti- Part "De"

...As if the drive up to Bohoc wasn't going to be breathtaking enough, we spent our first day in Haiti, in a local church surrounded by the most passionate, beautiful seekers of God. Their voice praised Him from a depth that you don't see too often in the states... a depth that has likely been reached through many, many years of trials and testing.

After church we were invited to the pastor's home where they served us rice and beans. If you could have seen the amount of food that was stacked high for us, you would know what a sacrifice this was. Everything they harvest, they eat. Offering such a large meal for us was like pouring perfume on Jesus' feet- a true sacrifice and gift of love.
Pastor washing our hands before we ate lunch in his home
After eating we began our first "Mission"- Home visits. These were probably the most touching for me, personally. We were so close to peoples homes in the villages- we were able to see and touch these beautiful people and pray for their needs, encourage them through scripture and offer up a bag of rice and beans as a gift.

They live such simple lives. Nothing to distract them. This can be good and unfortunate at times. Grief striken women and men cannot escape their pain for just a moment with a TV show or a car ride somewhere. Then again, they have a keen, spiritual awareness of the battle they are in and they are able to call it what it is. A common response I hear after coming back from the trip has been, "Doesn't it make you grateful for all we have?"- Yes and No. I am thankful beyond words for the ability to drink clean water and not think twice about it. I am thankful for my home. The safety of my children and family. I am thankful for law and order. I am extremely thankful for our military. I am thankful for an abundance of educational opportunities. I am thankful that we have no lack in food. I am thankful for medical care. The basics that all human beings should have, I am thankful. It's the "beyond's" that I am now, not so sure about. Don't get me wrong, life is much more comfortable with a nice car, a warm bed, an occasional vacation, tv, a smartphone, resturants, movie theaters, malls, computers, etc... but it just makes life/God/meaning so much easier to.....escape. Could a simpler life mean hearing from Him better? following Him without reluctance- answering His call- living our purpose with abandon- and remembering what this is all really about? On my way there, I thought that they were in a little bubble of the world. Coming back- I wonder if we are the ones in a bubble- trapped by our overpacked, busy lives, our calendar of events, our appointments, our 2nd and 3rd jobs that help us maintain our lifestyles, our phones that tells us every. single. time. someone comments on our lives... our drama and complaints. If this life is really about preparing for the next, are we truly better off?
I read somewhere on Facebook earlier today that someone visiting an underground church in China, asked them how we, as Americans, could be praying for them. The response was that we would pray for them to continue to be persecuted so that their faith would be strengthened and also that we, here in the States, would start to experience persecution ourselves for the same reasons. Is it possible that they have encountered something that we haven't? Something that is worth giving up all of the "luxuries" for? I can hardly wrap my own mind around that kind of faith.


Monday was a school day at HAFF. I went to some of the classrooms and helped with an English class. I don't actually know how helpful I was though ;-) They asked me to teach a color song but I don't teach Kindergarten so I don't teach the colors; but from the depths of my memory, I drew up one song about colors. The students laughed. A lot. I'm pretty sure they were laughing at me, not with me. :) This trip also made me thankful for universal things that can connect us no matter our language or country. Things like...   laughter.     handshakes.       prayer.       worship.         smiling.         hugs.

Connecting with a smile :)

Monday afternoon I got my bags! Yay! They were banged up and handles broken, but I got them. I was very eager to get into the bags of teaching supplies. I had a few kids who I got to try out these math manipulatives on- they flourished with them! By the time we were done, they could: make patterns, continue patterns, count to 10, add, subtract, multiply, balance cubes with a scale and use reasoning.... all with me speaking English and them speaking Creole. It was awesome! 

HAFF does a milk program where mothers and caretakers can bring their children each week to be weighed and evaluated, then given milk for the week and a plant called Chiah. This is a miracle plant that Echo helped plant years ago in Haiti. It's a wonderful source of protein and vitamins and flourishes in the soil there. So these babies would get weighed, be prayed for, then take a blanket and stalk of Chiah with them. I was in charge of trying to speak some Creole phrases and give instructions for the women: "Please take a blanket", "God Bless You", and "Next one please". I'm pretty sure between my Southern accent and rearranging of sounds and words, I butchered these phrases but it got the job done ;-)

The miracle plant!

Tuesday, I met a wonderful man, Met Justin Mompremier. He does training for teachers in Haiti, covering nearly 50 schools in the Bohoc/Pignon area. He gets on his sturdy motorcycle everyday and rides around to the schools offering support, encouragement and training. It was an honor that he asked me to go around with him one day to 3 of those schools. At first, I assumed we would walk but when he handed me a helmet, I tried to contain the shock in my eyes. You know those "Watch for Motorcycles" stickers that seem to be everywhere in America? Yea, well Haiti needs "Watch for Motorcycles" billboards, public service announcements, stickers, t-shirts and picket signs. They are no joke there---they will go as fast as they want and around (or over) whatever they want. I was shocked at how everyone seems to just calmly move over as they speed by. So, when Met Justin handed me a helmet, I kinda got nervous. When we loaded up on a 4-wheeler, I felt much better. :)

We traveled to the schools and I saw smiling face, after smiling face. Children eager to learn- some who walked hours to get to school every single day. They were all so diligently working when I walked in. They weren't playing or goofing off. I saw no fighting in any of the schools, classrooms or recess areas. They took great pride in their uniforms and I was very impressed by how neat and clean they were. In a country where they live in homes made of dirt, clay and rocks and walk dirtroads, their white socks were the whitest I've ever seen. Tide has nothing on the Haitians laundry! :) 

Just as amazing as the children, was the environment they were working in. Natural sunlight beaming through the windows, doors open to a breeze, no computers or posters or perfectly spaced desks; no carpets or reading areas and a landscape outside of the school that many here would pay a lot of money to see everyday. 

Here are some of the precious children and classrooms:

While I was working in the schools, Tom was busy making chalkboards! His company donated enough money to make nearly 20 boards. They ended up making 14 this week. A future group will have supplies to make the rest, and then some. Very cool project!
At the same time, Dr. Jerry was heading up the "Dental Clinic" on site at HAFF. People walked for miles to come for dental work. The group from Iowa was such a blessing. Yet another reminder that God has gifted us with all kinds of talents and occupations that can be used according to His purpose! 

Wednesday we did a lot of home visits. This was a time to really be the hands and feet of Jesus to the village and meet the people who make up this community. Every person we visited seem very grateful that we took time to come to their homes and pray with them for their specific needs. "Mesi, Mesi" we would be told as many held their hands close to their hearts. There is so much less to do there, which leaves so much time on a daily basis, to do really important things like this. There is such a decrease in pressure to be anywhere but where you are. 

I tried to study the faces. Each wrinkle that told a story. Many faces seemed so burdened. Many also seem so, deeply in love with Jesus. As we sang "Amazing Grace", many would recognize the tune, close their eyes and hum along. Most times we did this right outside of their homes so chickens would pass by, a breeze would come through and you could hear the trees through the wind. It was such a natural, authentic environment and although there was a language barrier- we were joined by one Spirit for one purpose. This was a revelation for me about how amazing and infinitely available and in control, our God is. The same exact Savior that rescued my own life in a little town in Alabama, had also captured the hearts of these precious people in a tiny, little village on top of a great, big mountain, on a small island in the middle of the ocean. So in the moment of this home visit, we were able to be of one heart and one mind. What a beautiful glimpse into our eternal life to come....

*part 3/3 of Haiti posts are continued on the next page, or you can click on this link: Haiti- Part "Twa"